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Clint Eastwood

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 17 February 2009

Matthew Sweet discusses Clint Eastwood's new film Gran Torino - about a disgruntled racist war veteran who befriends a Korean youth - and considers the 78-year-old icon's continuing significance in cinema. Eastwood has acted for 53 years, been a director for 37, won two Academy Awards for direction and two more for best picture, and his career is as strong as ever.

In Gran Torino he directs himself as an unhappy old man, who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbours, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Ford Gran Torino he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbour, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang-member cousin, tries to steal his car, Eastwood's character sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of the young Korean, he is soon taking steps to protect him from the gangs that infest their neighborhood.

Matthew also talks to writer and theatre producer Michael Kustow about his new book In Search of Jerusalem. It's the chronicle of a seismic year in his life when, shaken by his mother's death and the discovery he has cancer, Kustow finds he must reinvent his beliefs, including his Jewish roots and his attitudes to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

To mark the 40th anniversary of one of the most celebrated BBC series ever, Kenneth Clarke's Civilisation, Night Waves looks back at the story of how the series was made, and asks whether the corporation's arts broadcasting has gone downhill from there.

Plus a look at Treasures of the Black Death - an exhibition at the Wallace Collection displaying hoards of Medieval gold and silver jewellery hidden by Jewish families in France at the time of the Black Death, when Jews were blamed for spreading the disease.

  • Gran Torino

    Christopher Frayling gives his verdict on Clint Eastwood’s new film Gran Torino in which Eastwood plays a racist, misanthropic Korean war-veteran. The 78 year old actor has said it will be his last acting role but is it a worthy vehicle for him?

    Gran Torino is certificate 15 and is released on 20 February.

  • Michael Kustow

    Matthew Sweet talks to the writer and theatre producer Michael Kustow about his new book In Search of Jerusalem. It’s a chronicle of a seizmic year in his life when, shaken by his mother’s death and the discovery he has cancer, Kustow finds he has to reinvent all his beliefs, including his Jewish roots and attitudes to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

    In Search of Jerusalem by Michael Kurstow is published by Oberon Books and released on 26 February.

  • Civilisation

    Forty years ago this month, David Attenborough commissioned one of the most celebrated BBC series of all time – Kenneth Clarke’s Civilisation. To mark the anniversary, Dr Jonathan Conlin, Christopher Frayling and Waldemar Januszczak looks back at the story of how the series was made and asks whether BBC arts broadcasting has been all downhill from there.

    Waldemar Januszczak’s series on the Baroque begins on BBC Four next month.

    Civilization by Jonathan Conlin is published by BFI Classics.

    The Civilisation season at the National Gallery
  • The Treasures of the Black Death

    Professor Anne Curry goes hunting for Treasures of the Black Death – an exhibition displaying hoards of medieval gold and silver jewellery hidden by Jewish families in France at the time of the Black Death when Jews were blamed for spreading the disease.

    Treasures of the Black Death is on at the Wallace Collection from 19 February.

    The Walace Collection Website

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